Are you ready for some football?
The guys over at the Milan Puskar Center are gearing up for the opening of fall camp beginning with Thursday’s early evening practice.
West Virginia, recently picked to finish eighth in the Big 12, will be looking to replace most of its offensive production from last year’s team that finished 7-6 and lost to Syracuse 38-14 in the 2012 Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium in New York City.
The Mountaineers are one of seven Big 12 teams looking to replace their starting quarterback this fall. Last year’s starter, Geno Smith, is now battling it out with Mark Sanchez to become the starting quarterback for the New York Jets.
“Big 12 top to bottom is as good a conference as there is in college football,” said West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen during last week’s Big 12 football media day in Dallas. “Now, some years may not be like it was the last two years. You may have – depending on who starts and all that next year – you may have two or three really good quarterbacks come back, and half the other schools are not going to have quarterbacks coming back.
“So I think everybody’s pretty much in the same boat,” Holgorsen said. “Everybody’s got the ingredients to win. It’s how you develop them, and it’s catching some breaks that win you some games.”
Holgorsen said the quarterback competition between junior Paul Millard
, redshirt freshman Ford Childress
and Florida State transfer Clint Trickett
will be wide open when camp begins.
“Who our guy is going to be? I don’t know. We’ve got Clint Trickett
coming in who probably has as much experience in the college game as anybody in the Big 12, just because he’s been a starter in some big games,” Holgorsen said. “He’s been around it his whole life and we didn’t tell him that he was going to start either.
“He’s got to come in and beat an experienced Paul Millard
out, who has taken more reps than anybody on our campus,” Holgorsen said. “And then you’ve got Ford Childress
, who’s going to continue to get better and better. He may have more potential than any of the other guys.”
Regardless of who starts, Holgorsen said he likes where the team is at with the three guys he’s got at his disposal.
“When one of those guys steps up we’re going to name a starter and move forward with reps,” Holgorsen said.
Quarterback is not the only position up for grabs. Holgorsen also has to find replacements for the best wide receiving tandem in the country in Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey, both now playing for the St. Louis Rams.
“I haven’t lost any sleep over Tavon and Stedman moving to the NFL,” he said. “We don’t hold anyone back. That’s not the first time we’ve lost receivers to the NFL and be able to line up the next year and execute our offense.”
Holgorsen accurately pointed out that Austin’s and Bailey’s stats were once pedestrian compared to what they became when they got into his offense.
“When I got to West Virginia a couple of years ago, there were a couple of guys that hadn’t made a tremendous amount of plays and we coached them, and we developed them, and we helped turn them into phenomenal football players who will play in the league for a long time.”
Now, this year’s group of guys must be ready to step up.
All practices this fall will be closed to the general public but fans can get daily video updates and stories from Holgorsen, the coaching staff and select players online at http://www.wvusports.com
, on Mountaineer football’s official Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/wvufootball
and on the official Twitter sites http://www.twitter.com/wvusports